Growing mediums

Each experienced grower will have there preferred growing medium that they will use more often then others i will touch on some off the most popular growing mediums that are used for grows i will be weighing up the pros and cons off these so you can see which would suit you and your grow the most. This isn’t all off the mediums you can use but are a list off ones that i prefer and are some off the more popular ones.

Soil

You can find the following in your soil rock, sand, clay, moss, and other organic materials. It also contains microorganisms to break down organism material and are essential in providing soil with its life giving properties. A lot off soils you get will have added fertilizer. When you are buying your soil you need to consider NPK values. Use seedling compost for young plants, as they are particularly sensitive to nutrient burn. I would personally recommend a Soil grow for your first one unless you have got experience with hydro previously and you are very confident you can keep on top off your pH. Also it’s a cheaper option and fairly easy to maintain. On the downside, soil encourages pests and diseases, and it is more off a challenge to flush if there is a nutritional or chemical problem for example over feeding is one off the most popular problems when giving too much this can be rectified by flushing your plants with unbalanced pH. Drainage is another common problem, so be careful not to under water/ over water. If using soil, mix, it with about 25 percent perlite, to help with water retention and drainage.

Usually soil should appear dark and rich, drain well, and hold water without getting too muddy. If the soil drains well it will keep the roots well and not sit on top and also doesn’t take ages to drain out the bottom when you water. A good soil for cannabis is a rich and light composted soil. Try and run your hands through the soil and get a feel for the texture.

Indoor growers,make sure you are on top off things like how much nutrients are going in, the humidity, temperature this will all go towards the final product. As well with Soil make sure you perfect the pH aim between 6-7 pH but test it and see which is the most effective. There isn’t an exact ph that is the best it all depends on your grow i would recommend to stay around 6.3 pH in the veg stage and early bloom with soil.

Advantages

  • Many growers claim soil-grown marijuana tastes better
  • Soil can be more forgiving for the inattentive grower since it already contains some amount of nutrients in the soil
  • Sustainable
  • More Affordable to Start and Grow

Disadvantages

  • Is Heavy
  • Subject to pests
  • Prone to diseases
  • Potential Pests and Inclement Weather

Coco Coir

It is a medium that encourages roots to grow to there full potential. Coco coir has naturally occurring rooting hormones to promote healthy root growth, and offers higher resistance to fungal infections and root diseases then other mediums. Coco coir does tend to absorb calcium and magnesium, so use a cal/mag supplement if you was to use it.

The capacity of coco coir is one of the advantages off it, this enables the root system of the plants to grow much faster than in soil, and its a very soft growing medium. A stronger root means more growth, which allows a reduction in the vegetative period. Coco coir is an organic medium that comes from the fruits of coconut trees. the coconuts, the remaining fibres of the husk or mesocarp are collected as waste material. These residual fibers are in the form of powder and filaments, and the mixture of both is an ideal substrate for ornamental plants or intensive hydroponic cultivation.

Advantages

  • Reusable medium
  • Reduces risks off pests
  • pH neutral value
  • Quick harvest & big yield
  • Room for the root system

Disadvantages

  • May need additional supplementation
  • Needs rehydration
  • Coconut coir is inert, meaning that it has no nutrients within it.
  • Possible high salt content
  • Can lock out iron, magnesium and calcium

Rockwool

Inert hydroponic medium with excellent water-retention properties. Resembling loft insulation, it is made by spinning molten rock into fibers, which are then formed into cubes and slabs of various sizes. A good size cube for seedlings and cuttings is 1 and half inches (36mm) before moving on to another growing medium of larger cubes. It has a high pH, so before use it should be soaked in water with a pH of 5.6 for several hours.

Advantages

  • It retains up to 18% air, meaning better oxygenation of the plant roots and less chance of overwatering
  • It is available in all shapes and sizes, making it ideal for seedlings right through to large plants with extensive root systems. A one for all solution!
  • Can be a resilient material that doesn’t fall apart or break down easily
  • Rockwool has a large water retention capacity. This is a brilliant feature which protects the plants in the event of a pump failure

Disadvantages

  • Take care to maintain optimal pH with each and every watering
  • Rockwool is not really a natural product, so it won’t biodegrade
  • Will have to buy more each time using them

Expanded clay pebbles

A ecologically sustainable growing medium, made from porous clay pebbles that are ideal for hydroponic grows. They are inert and pH neutral, but wash them before use to remove dust. They are pricier then others mediums, but can be reused, saving you money in the long run.

These little, round, clay pellets are also known as hydroclay or hydroton and are an excellent medium. Each pellet has tiny holes that hold nutrients and air. Though the roots will become quite tangled by the time the plant is ready to harvest, hydroclay is a reusable medium that can be sterilized by soaking it in a mixture of water and hydrogen peroxide.

Preparation for pebbles

First off i take the full bag of pebbles and burst loads of holes in the bottom 6 inch of the bag while standing it in the bath. I then turn the shower on to the coldest setting and rinse the bag through for about a few minutes.

And then with the blocks soak them in ph 5.6 water for 24hrs preferably bubbled at around 20 degrees

Tip all the water away and replace with a mild nutrient solution with a ph of which you intend starting your plants on. As long as they have around 12 hours soaking in this solution they will be fine

Your pebbles should then be nice and clean and ready to go into any system you wish, in fact even after soaking in just ph water your pebbles can be used, I would just recommend to get a bit of nutrient into them first.

Advantages

  • Some air-holding capacity to keep root zones oxygenated
  • Fairly renewable & environment-friendly 
  • Reusable
  • Easy to plant and harvest

Disadvantages

  • Fairly costly
  • Can cause problems with pumps and plumbing with hydro grow
  • Water holding capacity leaves something to be desired. Clay pebbles don’t have good water holding capacity

Perlite

These are made by heat expanding volcanic glass, these highly absorbent granules are inert and pH neutral. They are usually combined with other growing mediums to aid water retentions and drainage, but can also be used on there own. They contain a lot of dust, so rinse well before use and never use in a recovery hydroponic system (one that recycles the excess fluids) in case it gets drawn into the pump. Vermiculite is similar to perlite and be used instead.

Perlite is useful because it helps minimize temperature fluctuations in the soil. It also has a neutral pH level, making is suitable for picky cannabis plants. While perlite does retain moisture, it doesn’t get soggy and does not pose any type of fire hazard or toxicity. Perlite is also known for keeping the soil free from diseases, weeds, and insects. 

Using perlite to grow marijuana plants in containers can enable the container to hold just enough oxygen and water. This mineral is also great for use with root cuttings and helps to inhabit much stronger roots than those grown in water alone. However, plants may experience a fluoride burn while using perlite, resulting in leaves with brown tips

ADVANTAGES

  • Ideal for clones, as the lightweight structure of perlite means roots can penetrate easily
  • Being inert, perlite will not upset nutrient concentrations..
  • The decreased weight means handling potted cannabis plants is much more comfortable. The benefits stack up when you are cultivating multiple plants.
  • Increased oxygen levels form because of the air pockets created by perlite. Roots thrive on oxygen, so expect improved rates of growth.

DISADVANTAGES

  • For hydroponic systems, perlite needs to be washed first. There is a fine dust that covers the substance, which, if left, can clog systems. 
  • The increased drainage can magnify the frequency of watering routines, so you will need to keep a close eye on plants.
  • If you need to leave a plant for an extended period, it will not cope well, as it is more reliant on your input.
  • Leaching of nutrients means careful control of pH is needed to maintain an optimal environment. You will need to pH test runoff every time you water.

And they are just a few mediums that i would recommend. They are a few that can only be used for hydro grows for example the rock wool and pebbles but still offer a lot off good traits that could benefit your grow. Having a strong medium will start you grow off strong and allow your females to strive and plant a good root system.

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